Industrial court restrains Wike, others from sacking council chairmen
The National Industrial Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has granted an order of interim injunction restraining governor of Rivers State, the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of Rivers State and their agents from terminating tenure of office of the 23 Local Government Councils of Rivers State.
The twenty two All Progressives Congress chairmen who were elected in May this year had in suit NICN/YEN/26/2015, filed in the National Industrial Court presided over by Justice J.T. Agbadu-Fishim, appealed to the court to grant order barring the Rivers State governor and others from dissolving, suspending, sacking or in any manner whatsoever interfering with their tenure of office.
The Order, in Suit No: NICN/YEN/26/2015, which was granted on Monday, June 22nd, 2015 followed a motion ex-parte and affidavit of extreme urgency filed by the Local Government Council Chairmen on behalf of themselves and the 23 Local Government Councils of Rivers State.
The Order also restrained the Inspector-general of Police or his agents and privies from enforcing any purported action detrimental to the existence of the 23 chairmen and councils in Rivers State. The All Progressives Congress spokesperson in Rivers State, Chris Finebone, explained that the order would remain in force until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for Interlocutory Injunction.
“The APC would like to recall that the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of the State have been hatching all manner of schemes to do away with the elected 23 local Government Councils in Rivers State.
We believe that, despite the presence of a few bad eggs, the judiciary remains the last hope of the oppressed. Therefore, we hail this decision by the Yenagoa High Court as specified in the attached Order,” he said.
Anxiety that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, might dissolve twenty two elected council chairmen heightened last Wednesday when a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt refused to grant preservative order sought by the chairmen to prevent the governor and others from sacking them.
The chairmen had filed a suit at the Federal High Court, seeking for an order to prevent Governor Wike to dissolve them and withholding their statutory allocation, having giving directives that banks should not grant them loans without his consent. Justice Bello Quadri declined to grant the request by the twenty-two following the absence of the counsel to the Rivers state House of Assembly in court and the failure of the chairmen to serve the state governor the court processes.
The chairmen have argued that the directive by this government to banks and other financial institutions not to deal with the newly-inaugurated local government councils, is target-specific and a further step in the dress rehearsal to execute their avowed agenda to sack duly elected and constituted local government councils without recourse to the due process of law as provided under Section 64 of the Rivers State Local Government Law (No. 2) of 2012.